The Short List: The Week’s Recommended Shows

Emily Wells

Wednesday, June 19

Previously known for pairing her unique, almost mumbling singing style with violin, effects pedals, synths, toy piano, percussion, and just about any other instrument she can wrangle up, Texas-born multi-instrumentalist and singer Emily Wells took a 180-degree turn on her latest release, a completely acoustic version of 2012’s Mama called Mama Acoustic Recordings. Though still powerful, each song has suddenly become much softer, putting Wells’ voice in the spotlight rather than making it share the stage with the backing tracks she creates through looping pedals during live shows. The album’s sweet, lullaby-like quality is magnified after learning that Wells recorded Mama Acoustic while others were sleeping in a nearby room. It’s the perfect soundtrack for sleepless nights of quiet contemplation. With 1939 Ensemble, Whitney Ballen. The Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-4618. $12 adv. 8 p.m. All ages.

Fall Out Boy

Wednesday, June 19

The fellas of Fall Out Boy made a triumphant return to the music world earlier this year (after a few Hollywood roadblocks) with the surprise release of their fifth full-length release. Now they’re taking a new batch of pop-punk tracks to the road—fulfilling the long-awaited dreams of girls wearing lots of eyeliner and guys still trying to be Pete Wentz. In addition to providing some much-needed r&r, the break seems to have reminded the group what they’re really good at: making super-catchy crossover tracks that make you want to dance. With New Politics. Showbox SoDo, 1700 First Ave. S., 652-0444, showboxonline.com. 8 p.m. SOLD OUT.

Said the Whale

Thursday, June 20

To tide fans over until its next studio album, Vancouver-based indie-rock band Said the Whale released I Love You, an EP that includes three songs the band says are likely to be on the upcoming full-length. The title is very appropriate given the songs’ subject matter. The title track is about lead singer Tyler Bancroft’s vow to love his half-siblings unconditionally, even though they love those boring instrumentals. “Barbara-Ann” is a breezy song about true love, named for one half of a couple who runs a hammock shop in Vancouver. Closing track “Mother” is the result of a conversation between Bancroft and Cayne McKenzie of We Are the City about the balance between making others happy and doing what you want—a serious topic, but the summery beat, reminiscent of a Vampire Weekend tune, makes the song easily listenable. It won’t be easy to make it until the fall for a new STW album, but judging by these songs, it’ll be well worth the wait. With Brite Lines, Ghost Town Riot. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. $10 adv./$12 DOS. 9 p.m. 21 and over.

Camera Obscura

Saturday, June 22

Listening to Camera Obscura’s swooning dream rock, I’ve imagined a conversation so vividly that I could swear it’s real. It takes place in a dark Glasgow pub on a sunny August day. It’s 2001, or thereabouts. Belle and Sebastian’s Stuart Murdoch is speaking passionately in his precious brogue to a shy girl named Tracyanne who had to be coaxed out of her flat, where she’d been holed up all summer with books about love. “Scotland needs you, Tracyanne,” Stuart coos to the mop-topped girl. “I need you.” Tracyanne only stares at the pint she’s hardly touched, so he takes a Kodachrome camera from his pocket and slides it to her. Expressionless, she picks it up, puts it to her eye, and snaps a bittersweet photo. With that, the torch of Scottish twee-pop was passed—a flame that Tracyanne and Camera Obscura have been keeping alive for more than a decade by faithfully chronicling every nuance of modern Highlander angst. Out with their latest installment, Desire Lines, all systems are normal from the outfit—smart, hooky, and, yes, bittersweet—which is a joy for those like me who are more often than not disappointed by their cousin Belle’s hit-and-miss full-lengths. It’s enough to draw even the most maudlin sop out of the flat for a pint. With Marissa Nadler. Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151, showboxonline.com. 8 p.m. $20 adv./$23 DOS.

Horse Feathers

Saturday, June 22

The naturally occurring sense of goodwill toward your fellow man that deepens with each beer is one of evolution’s greatest attributes—hard to improve upon, except, say, were you to donate your night’s drinking budget to charity while simultaneously soaking up a buzz. Wonderfully, that’s the point of Noise for the Needy, the annual music festival that donates all proceeds to a local nonprofit (this year, the Ballard Food Bank). Add your good vibes to the pot at venues in Ballard and consider starting with this group, a string-based indie band with gentle, heartwarming melodies that match the spirit of the weekend. They released their fourth album, Cynic’s New Year, last year. With Case Studies, Pretty Broken Things. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave., 789-3599, noisefortheneedy.org. $15. 9:30 p.m.

Kris Orlowski

Sunday, June 23

If there’s one thing you need to know about Kris Orlowski, it’s that these guys like to give back. Proof: The last time his band played a show in Ballard, it was with friends in a fundraiser for MusiCares. The boys return tonight for another do-good set—this time for Seattle’s Noise for the Needy. (Also see Horse Feathers, below.) In truth, the show will be worth seeing for front man Orlowski’s booming baritone and charming disposition alone. That it’s for a good cause, and features a bunch of Orlowski’s badass musical friends? Well, all that’s just icing on a really tasty cupcake. With Hot Bodies in Motion, Cody Beebe & the Crooks, The Vaudeville Etiquette, Tango Alpha Tango. Hattie’s Party Lot/Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. $15. 1 p.m.

Cody Simpson

Sunday, June 23

In the tradition of Justin Bieber, teen heartthrob Cody Simpson has made a career out of hanging with Ellen and playing songs to little girls who love to scream. But what’s his secret weapon? He’s also Australian. Touring in support of his debut full-length, Paradise, the surfer-blonde pop singer is sure to deliver a slick set of romantical tunes of the tween variety—perfect for your favorite 13-year-old. Who are we kidding? He might draw a couple of sappy 24-year-olds as well. Warning to chaperones: Don’t forget the earplugs. With Ryan Beatty, Before You Exit. Paramount, 911 Pine St., 682-1414. $15.75. 7 p.m. All ages.

 
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